Cranial Insertion: Global Alarm Clock



Cranial Insertion
Global Alarm Clock
or, It Goes Ding When There's Stuff

By Eli Shiffrin, Brian Paskoff, and Carsten Haese

[This article is available in Italian here.]


So happy!
Good morning, everyone! I hope you had a good time at the Worldwake prerelease and got plenty of your lands into the red zone. Now it's time to look at the questions that came up during the weekend, plus a couple that came to our mailbox beforehand.

First, make sure to check out last week's article if you didn't already read it. Without specifically mentioning any WWK cards, Carsten answered a lot of questions about manlands. There are a couple more in here, particularly how Zendikons interact.

Yes, the official Worldwake FAQ covers Zendikons a bit. It also covers a couple other questions here that are very, very frequent. But make sure you go and read the FAQ in addition to this article – they don't entirely overlap, and this article is meant to supplement and complement the FAQ rather than replace it.

Still got questions? Fire them over to our beloved zombie monkey mail-lord at [email][email protected][/email] and we'll send back an answer and your question may appear in a future article!



Q: If I copy a multikicker spell, does it copy how many times it was kicked? Can I kick it more?

A: With Zendikar, it was important to know that the choice to kick a spell was a copiable value. Now, you also need to know that the number of times you choose to kick a spell is a copiable value. Just like copying a non-kicked kicker spell, you can't choose to kick it more when you copy it, but you do copy how much it was kicked as it was cast.



Q: Will Groundswell give my creature +6/+6 if I cast Harrow this turn? +8/+8 if I also played a land?

A: Groundswell conditionally gives +4/+4 rather than +2/+2. If it meant to give a bonus "for each" land that entered the battlefield, it would say so; as written, it's only on or off, not on-and-going-to-11.



Q: How do multiple Zendikons interact? For instance, if I put Wind Zendikon on a land and then Vastwood Zendikon, do I have a fat blue-green flier?

A: Oh boy, layers! Luckily we have a whole article on layers to help you. The short version here is: abilities and creature types from multiple Zendikons (or animated manlands) accumulate; the color, power, and toughness are all overwritten by the last Zendikon to enter the battlefield or the animation effect if it resolved after that. So if you play the Wind Zendikon first, it would be a 6/4 green Elemental with flying, whereas if you played it last, it would merely be a 2/2.



Q: Can I use Comet Storm to smack my opponent and each of his two planeswalkers?

A: For each time you kick the Storm, you have to choose a different target; that is, one not already chosen as a target for Comet Storm. You can't target the same player multiple times, and you can't target planeswalkers at all – they are neither creature nor player. Your one Comet hitting your opponent can be redirected to one of his planeswalkers if you wish, but it can't be split up between two planeswalkers, or between the player and one planeswalker.




Rolling, rolling, rolling!
Q: Why does Stone Idol Trap have trample when it can't attack?

A: Who says it can't attack? Note that it is not exiled until the beginning of your end step, and you can cast it during your opponent's turn; it'll start your turn under your control and be able to attack just fine before it's exiled.



Q: In his precombat main phase, the other guy casts a Mark of Mutiny, and I want to use Refraction Trap in combat to redirect damage as a surprise. Can I still get the discount?

A: You sure can! You don't need to cast a Trap immediately after the condition is fulfilled, nor do you have to use it in any way that's tied to whatever event fulfilled the condition. A red sorcery spell was cast this turn, and it's still this turn, so the Trap is still cheaper.



Q: My opponent casts Refraction Trap on my creature earlier in the turn, and now I want to Harm's Way the damage back at him, but Refraction Trap is in the graveyard. Can I still choose it as the source of damage?

A: Oh, sources of damage. 609.7a in the CR helps out here:

If an effect requires a player to choose a source of damage, he or she may choose a permanent; a spell on the stack (including a permanent spell); any object referred to by an object on the stack, by a replacement or prevention effect that’s waiting to apply, or by a delayed triggered ability that’s waiting to trigger (even if that object is no longer in the zone it used to be in); or, for certain casual variant games, a face-up card in the command zone. A source doesn’t need to be capable of dealing damage to be a legal choice. The source is chosen when the effect is created. If the player chooses a permanent, the effect will apply to the next damage dealt by that permanent, regardless of whether it’s combat damage or damage dealt as the result of a spell or ability. If the player chooses a permanent spell, the effect will apply to any damage dealt by that spell and any damage dealt by the permanent that spell becomes when it resolves.

So Refraction Trap is a valid source of damage due to its replacement effect still waiting to apply.



Q: Can I pull off some trick with Ruin Ghost and fetchlands to search for a land but keep my fetchland?

A: No. If you activate the Ghost in response to the fetchland, the fetchland is already gone – sacrificing it is a cost to activate its fetching ability – so you can't target it. If you activate the fetchland in response to the Ghost targeting it, the target is illegal so the ability is countered. No shenanigans here.



Q: My opponent is at -5 thanks to Abyssal Persecutor and he swings for the kill. I block a 6/6 with the Persecutor, and the leftover damage is still enough to kill me. Is the game a draw?

A: No, actually. First the Persecutor takes lethal damage and your life total goes to 0 or lower. Next, state-based actions are performed. Simultaneously, the Persecutor and you die. In the next round of state-based actions, your opponent would lose the game, but that next round does not happen. You're already dead. Game's over, he won.



Q: What happens if I control both Platinum Angel and Abyssal Persecutor?

A: Then you can neither win nor lose, and your opponent can neither win nor lose. This is the exact same effect as if you each controlled a Platinum Angel, which I saw happen at the M10 prerelease much to my chagrin, so I'm really not sure why this question is so popular right now.



Q: Thanks to Eye of Ugin, Eldrazi is a creature type right now, isn't it? So I can start an Eldrazi Conspiracy?

A: Yes. Even though no creature is printed with the creature type Eldrazi, and no cards make an Eldrazi, its existence on another card's text makes it a creature type that you can call for Conspiracy.



Q: Can Eye of Ugin fetch up Eldrazi Monument?

A: No. As mentioned above, Eldrazi is a creature subtype; just like a Faerie card and a Goblin card, an Eldrazi card is a card with the Eldrazi subtype, not any old card with "Eldrazi" in the name.

Not to mention that Eldrazi Monument isn't even a creature.



Q: My opponent is attacking with a Baneslayer Angel. I activate Stirring Wildwood and declare it as a blocker. Then, I activate Ruin Ghost's ability to flip-flop my land. What happens?

A: The Angel is blocked, but the blocker is gone: Stirring Wildwood returns to the battlefield as a plain land (not to be confused with a Plains land) and an entirely new object, one that is not blocking the Angel. The Angel, still being blocked however, has no blocking creature to assign damage to and does not have trample, so it deals no damage and no life is gained. The Wildwood sits there grinning to itself.




Gamera!
Q: I swing with Calcite Snapper and then flicker a land after no blockers are declared. Can I use Bull Rush after that to deal 6 damage rather than 4?

A: No, for two reasons. First, and possibly most importantly, Calcite Snapper has shroud. You're not going to be targeting it with anything.

Secondly, when calculating the power and toughness of a creature, switches are always applied very last, after every other effect, no matter the order in which they resolved. If some non-targeted effect gave the convertible Turtle +2/+0 while it was converted, it would first become a 3/4 and then switch into a 4/3.



Q: Seijiri Merfolk deals first-strike damage and then I sacrifice my only Plains. Will it deal normal combat damage now, too?

A: It won't. The second combat damage step is only for creatures with double strike and creatures that didn't have first strike as the first combat damage step began. That's all that matters: when the first one starts, does it have first strike? Then it's there. Does it not? Then it's dealing damage later.



Q: I have a Quest for Renewal active and my opponent Permafrost Traps two of my creatures. Will they untap during his untap step?

A: Sure! Permafrost Trap says that they don't untap during your untap step, but it isn't your untap step during your opponent's turn. All of your creatures will untap, and unless you somehow tap those two creatures during your opponent's turn, they'll remain untapped on your turn.



Q: Would Stoic Angel stop Quest for Renewal from untapping all of my creatures on my opponent's turn?

A: It won't. This is a little trickier than the Permafrost situation, but it comes down to the same thing. Players can't untap more than one creature during "their" untap step, which really means "their own" untap step. All of your creatures will spring into action!



Q: Can I Smother a manland, or not since it has no converted mana cost?

A: Everything has a converted mana cost. Manlands have no mana cost, and a null mana cost means that the converted mana cost is 0. Smother away!



Q: Walking Atlas is a non-artifact colorless creature?

A: No. Seriously. It's an accidental omission, and it really is an artifact. When in doubt, check the card's Oracle text for any errata.



Q: When I kick Bloodhusk Ritualist three times, can I make three different opponents discard?

A: Strength of the Tajuru shows how effects like this are worded – rather awkwardly, and not like Bloodhusk Ritualist. The Ritualist has one target opponent, and that opponent discards for each kick. You can't target many opponents.



Q: In 2HG, can I just attack the guy that doesn't control Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs so he can't get an Ogre?

A: 2HG doesn't work that way. You attack the team as a whole, not individual players; you assign combat damage to individual players once you get to that point. Since you're attacking the player with Kazuul, among other players, Kazuul will trigger.



Q: Do I have to remind my opponent to pay for Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs or can I just keep quiet until he does something else and get a free Ogre?

A: This falls under the IPG's "requires a choice made by another player" heading. You cannot let it silently go by. That's not very sporting, either, is it? If you're going to play head games rather than play Magic, maybe you should look into a different hobby.



Time to go back to sleep. Paskoff will be in next week with yet more WWK questions, as well as some older goodies. Don't forget the Launch Parties coming up this weekend for another chance to play some awesome Zendikar block Limited!

Until next time, happy gaming!

- Eli Shiffrin
Tucson, Arizona

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